virus: RE: virus E=MC2 rescinded?

From: Blunderov (
Date: Fri Aug 09 2002 - 00:37:08 MDT

This seems to be making waves:
SYDNEY, Australia -- The crux of Einstein's theory of relativity -- that
E = mc 2 -- is under challenge, following evidence that the speed of
light might be slowing down.

The discovery, made by a team of Australian scientists, undermines
Einstein's key formula which maintains that the speed of light must
remain constant.

The speed of light is measured as roughly 300,000 kilometers (186,300
miles) a second.

The team's findings, which are published in the latest edition of
respected science journal Nature, are causing a major stir in the lofty
circles of theoretical physics.

Team leader Paul Davies, of Sydney's Macquarie University, says that if
the speed of light has slowed over billions of years, physicists will
have to rethink many of their basic ideas about the laws of the

"That means giving up the theory of relativity and E = mc2 and all that
sort of stuff," Davies told Reuters news agency on Thursday.

"But of course it doesn't mean we just throw the books in the bin,
because it's in the nature of scientific revolution that the old
theories become incorporated in the new ones."

What Davies and his team did was study a 12 billion-year-old stream of

They discovered it did not have the properties it was expected to, and
by a process of elimination deduced that the speed of light must have
been much faster billions of years ago.

"It's entirely possible that the speed of light would have got greater
and greater as you go back," he told the Herald Sun newspaper.

"If the speed of light were nearly infinite in the first split second
[of the universe's creation] it would explain why the universe is so

The implications of the discovery -- if it is proven correct -- are not
necessarily clear.

Einstein: Time for a rethink?
"When one of the cornerstones of physics collapses, it's not obvious
what you hang onto and what you discard," Davies told Reuters.

"If what we're seeing is the beginnings of a paradigm shift in physics
like what happened 100 years ago with the theory of relativity and
quantum theory, it is very hard to know what sort of reasoning to bring
to bear."

'All bets off'
"For example there's a cherished law that says nothing can go faster
than light and that follows from the theory of relativity," Davies said.

"Maybe it's possible to get around that restriction, in which case it
would enthrall Star Trek fans because at the moment even at the speed of
light it would take 100,000 years to cross the galaxy.

"It's a bit of a bore really and if the speed of light limit could go,
then who knows? All bets are off."

Davies is a Professor of Natural Philosophy at the Australian Center for
Astrobiology at Macquarie University.

Last week he received the British Royal Society's Michael Faraday Award
for his efforts in furthering the public communication of science,
engineering or technology in the United Kingdom.

Davies has a worldwide reputation as an enthusiastic and skilled
communicator of contemporary physics issues.
Warm regards

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